Body Psychotherapy

History, Concepts, and Methods

Michael C. Heller (Author, PhD), Marcel Duclos (Translator)


From yoga to neuroscience, a tour of major ideas about the body and mind.

Body psychotherapy, which examines the relationship of bodily and physical experiences to emotional and psychological experiences, seems at first glance to be a relatively new area and on the cutting edge of psychotherapeutic theory and practice. It is, but the major concepts of body/mind treatment are actually drawn from a wide range of historical material, material that spans centuries and continents.

Here, in a massively comprehensive book, Michael Heller summarizes all the major concepts, thinkers, and movements whose work has led to the creation of the field we now know as body/mind psychotherapy.

The book covers everything from Eastern and Western thought—beginning with yoga and Taosim and moving to Plato and Descartes. It also discusses major developments in biology—how organisms are defined—and neuroscience. This is truly a comprehensive reference for anyone interested in the origins of the idea that the mind and body are not separate and that both must be understood together in order to understand people and their behavior. 

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • August 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70669-7
  • 7.8 × 10.3 in / 862 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[F]ull of fine detail . . . [A] book rich with information for the body psychotherapy practitioner or student, one which will reward frequent returning to.” — Metapsychology

“This is a book about the complete intellectual history that informs psychotherapy practices – it is a well written critique with respect to all modalities housed under the term body psychotherapy. . . . To say I loved the book is an understatement. I was enthralled with the history and read the first 300 pages straight through. . . . [T]he time spent delving into this book is time well spent.” — Somatic Psychotherapy Today

“Amazing . . . exciting . . . remarkable. Tracing the historical roots of this field to its emergent disciplines today, this tome is a vital reference book for body psychotherapists and body workers of all types. It is also a profound reference for any clinician wishing to study this field seriously. Thank you Michael Heller for this gift of incredible scholarship. ” — Peter A. Levine, PhD, Developer of Somatic Experiencing® and author of In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

“Michael Heller has taken on the herculean task of compiling the vast wealth of scientific and theoretical knowledge that has contributed to the field of body psychotherapy into one massive volume. Without adhering to a particular school of thought or methodology, he presents an authoritative, enthusiastic, but yet unbiased synopsis of historical and current trends and forces, themes and thinkers struggling to comprehend the interface of body, mind and more. This textbook will prove an informative and vitalizing resource to both seasoned practitioners and students of body psychotherapy for years to come.” — Pat Ogden, PhD, Founder/Director, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and author of Trauma and the Body

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